I recall reading an article possibly two-three years ago, talking about the future of interaction, with special emphasis on mobile devices. The future of interaction was no interaction. Eg. an interface, or a platform that knows the user so well that it will be able to manage our lives with no need for the user to micro manage every single task. Possiblities in the likes of; paying all your bills, scheduling your meetings, recieve your calls and check towards the calendar to see if you’re free and so forth.
As micro managing mundane tasks is one of the worst things I know of, of course I love the idea of this. But I also remember that I back then thought it felt a bit far fetched and hard to integrate into my life, and I thought it would require me some pretty hardcore integration into an eco system. But with the many breakthroughs in AI during recent years, maybe having something like this wouldn’t be so far fetched after all.
Following my behavior in interaction with software the last year or so, my patience with apps requiring me to manually fill out data, or even just sluggish interfaces – is basically zero/0/nada/zip. If a homepage is poorly designed or unforgivingly complex in it’s structure, I just google whatever I want to find there, and usually find it much faster than what I would’ve on that actual site. And if an app requires me to fill in stuff manually, I usually don’t, I just look up another app that fetches data from Facebook or something.
The first one of the examples beg one important question: Do all homepages need their own interfaces? Or can companies like Google take over most of their existence on the web? I honestly do not think it would be such a bad idea. For one it would be extremely cost efficient for example. In contrary to hiring a decent web agency, that is.
The reason that I started to think about this now is basically the most recent Google I/O. Which really captivated me. These things weren’t far fetched dreams, many of them – they bring to the market this year. Much of it will most likely be exclusive to the US at first, but will likely reach Europe sooner or later as well.
One of the things that caught my attention a little bit extra was the new Google Assistant functionality, allowing the assistant to call and book appointments at an hairdresser for example. Which of course is a pretty simple task that at least I do not do very often, but yet it’s a start. And their new voice synthesis sounds really close to natural now as well.
See here for reference:
Further down the road I can see many benefits for both Google themselves and the end user in this. And possibly even smaller companies, using Google’s services to stand out. On the other hand it becomes a somewhat scary thought, just how much power Google (and companies in their likes) will have over consumption patterns as well as which retailers we choose. For example, it’s not that unimaginable that companies driving AR products will implement “paid ads” even in those spaces. Making it possible for restaurants with bigger revenues to stand out in these implementations.
On the other hand, a voice assistant that can make calls for you, may very well be able to help you through phone lines and calls that gets passed between operators and other “fun” things that usually occur when calling bigger companies or townships. Basically, it could compensate for bad UX in the other end of the phone, making the only need for the user to step in, when the AI reaches the limits of what it can do.
The next step of the development would of course be having AI:s in both ends, eliminating the need to actually make a call. But let’s settle with solutions making life more convenient for consumers for now, and hope that they turn out well.